Warmest winter gloves

The Warmest Winter Gloves for Active Adventures

I have permanently cold hands. Each year I start wearing fingerless gloves for typing in September, 16ºC outside. And my first chilblains usually occur in early October — I’m 34! So my quest for the warmest gloves is not one of decadence, or because I really love having sweaty hands. But one that is highly necessary to avoid months of painful, swollen fingers! Plus, finding the best cold weather gloves for different outdoor activities means that I can do more right through the winter without being downright miserable!

OK. I’ll stop my moaning now. You get it: warm gloves = more winter fun.

My chilblain prevention tactics have led me to go overboard on gloves this year. And so far, the results have been superb. A whole 10 weeks, chilblain free! My first secret is wearing 100% merino wool fingerless gloves when I’m indoors. This means I can still do most tasks with warm hands. I highly recommend some if you have similar issues!

But what about for outdoor winter activities? Fear not cold-handed adventurers, I’ve got you and your frosty fingers covered!

The best and warmest winter gloves for active adventues

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PorductBest forTouch screen compatibleFeaturesCost
The North Face Etip Grip GlovesEveryday adventures in cool conditionsYesExcellent grip$$
Dexshell Thermfit Neo GlovesWinter hiking and cycling in wet and cold conditionsYesWaterproof and warm$$
Mammut Astro Guide GloveWinter hiking and ski touringNoWindproof and warm$$$$
Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Knit GlovesCycling and running in cold conditionsYesWaterproof$$
Copper Clothing Semi Compression GlovesEveryday wear for those with pain, inflammation and circulation problemsYesAnti-microbial$
The North Face Etip Grip GlovesEtip glove details

The North Face Etip Grip Glove

Best for: Everyday adventures in cool conditions

The Etip Grip is the newest version of the popular Etip Glove by The North Face and is a superb choice for everyday adventures. With five-finger touch screen capability, and a mega tough abrasion-resistant palm, the glove combines comfort, durability and practicality like no other glove on our list. It’s the most dextrous of all the gloves making it a favourite for cool-weather camping — no need to take your gloves off to prepare meals and undo zips! I also really love that the durable palm and fingers are very water resistant — leaning on wet rocks during steep hikes doesn’t mean sodden fingers for the rest of the day. And the grip is do good that the gloves cope brilliantly with easy scrambling over rocky terrain.

The inside is lined with a soft, fine fleece which feels very cosy for such a lightweight, thin glove. And the seal around the wrists feels secure but not too tight.

When it comes to providing warmth in winter conditions, however, the Etip Grip isn’t going to win any awards. Though the gloves provide some protection on fast-paced hiking in blustery, cold (under 5ºC) conditions, there is little actual insulation for your hands. In this scenario the gloves are better used as an underglove.

I have also worn the Etip Grip Gloves whilst running in chilly conditions (3-4ºC). Warmth-wise they did a great job. However, towards the end of the run my hands had become sweaty, although not uncomfortable. Breathability could certainly be better.

Pros

  • Excellent grip
  • Superb touch screen capability
  • Highly durable and weather resistant
  • Great for everyday adventures, or as an underglove

Cons

  • Don’t provide much warmth below 5ºC
  • No very breathable for running in

Find the latest price at:
The North Face | REI | Backcountry


Dexshell Thermfit Neo GlovesDexshell glove details

Dexshell Thermfit Neo Gloves

Best for: Winter hiking and cycling in wet and cold conditions

Merino gloves that are waterproof? Could this be the dream glove?! The Dexshell Thermfit Neo is a highly innovative glove that is fully waterproof thanks to the Porelle membrane. But it’s also super warm and one of the warmest gloves on our list. It boasts a soft, moisture wicking and odour resistant merino wool interior that is super warm in temperatures right down to 0ºC.

Those who suffer with bad circulation (like me!) may find the fingers a little on the tight side to fully enjoy the warmth of these gloves. But for regular folk the snug fit is nothing but cosy and provides good levels of dexterity to type easily on touch screen devices. They are also an excellent choice for cold weather camping, providing warmth and dexterity in equal measure.

Where they really come into their own, however, is when it’s chucking it down with rain! Much like the Showers Pass Gloves, their waterproofness (and wind resistance) without any bulk makes the Neo’s superbly versatile for wear on all sorts of outdoor adventures, especially hiking and biking in the rain.

One minor downfall of these all-round excellent winter gloves is that the touch screen fingers don’t get along very well with velcro! Strong velcro pulls at the threads easily so keep them apart and you’ll be just fine!

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Very warm at around 0ºC
  • Good touch screen capability
  • Highly versatile

Cons

  • They don’t get along with velcro!
  • Some may find the fingers a little tight
  • They don’t clip together

Find the latest price at:
Amazon | Dexshell


Mammut Astro Guide GloveMammut gloves

Mammut Astro Guide Glove

Best for: Winter hiking and ski touring

Although designed for ski touring, the Mammut Astro Guide Glove is also a superb choice for winter hiking missions. In both of these scenarios balancing breathability with the right amount of warmth and comfort are the main concerns. Too warm and sweat management will become a problem regardless of breathability. But not warm enough and the gloves will be rendered useless! Mammut have combined minimal Polyamide insulation with a breathable and windproof membrane: Gore Stopper, which is highly effective in wild conditions while you are on the move. What’s really impressive about these gloves, however, is that when you do stop your hands don’t start to chill from sweat build-up.

The inner fleece lining is exceptionally soft to touch and there is enough room to wear a thin liner glove in really cold conditions, if needed. Additionally, the goat leather palms provide excellent grip on ski or hiking poles and are highly water resistant too.

These full featured gloves have a very useful (and soft) panel for wiping dripping noses, plus webbed pull tabs to get them on easily. Add to that a the soft cuff with an adjustable velcro tab and finger webbing to secure a carabiner and you’ve got yourself the perfect winter glove for active adventures.

Pros

  • Windproof
  • Very breathable
  • Good grip
  • Highly durable

Cons

  • Not fully waterproof
  • Not touch screen compatible

Find the latest price at:
Mammut | Backcountry


Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Knit GlovesShowers pass gloves

Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Gloves

Best for: Cycling and running in cold conditions

Created in a similar way to the Dexshell Thermfit Neo, the Showers Pass Crosspoint Gloves offer a seamfree fit that is fully waterproof. Created using 100% synthetic fabrics, the gloves also perform in a similar way, despite the differences in materials used. The Crosspoints have a waterproof and breathable Artex membrane and are lined with Coolmax, which mimics the properties of merino. They are not as thick as the Neo’s making them less suited for wear in freezing temperatures. However, they are plenty warm enough for high energy activities in conditions nearing 0ºC. They make an excellent running and cycling glove on wet, cold and windy days.

Although not as warm as the Neo’s I find the Crosspoints to be more comfortable. This is mainly due to the fit. They are less tight around the fingers but more fitted at the cuff. And because they are slightly less thick, I also find that they give a little more dexterity and movement.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Good Dexterity
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable

Cons

  • They don’t clip together

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Showers Pass


Copper Clothing Semi Compression GlovesCopper gloves

Copper Clothing Semi Compression Gloves

Best for: Everyday wear for those with pain, inflammation and circulation problems

These Copper Compression Gloves may be a bit of a curveball in our selection of the warmest gloves for winter adventures, but they are most certainly worthy of a place on our list. Despite the fact that they look like an average pair of wooly gloves, they actually have some exceptional properties like no other gloves.

Firstly, they are very comfortable. Soft and fitted but not too tight. Secondly the infusion of copper in the fibers of the gloves provide natural anti-microbial protection. But thirdly, and most importantly to me and my fellow cold-hand sufferers out there, the presence of the copper also helps reduce pain, swelling and stiffness in your hands AND stimulates oxygen delivery in sore muscles to promote better blood flow in inflamed joints. They have been key in helping keep my chilblains at bay this winter, and because they provide such good dexterity along with excellent touch screen capability, I can wear them almost all the time!

Sure, they’re not waterproof, windproof or even warm enough to wear as stand-alone gloves in cold conditions. But they make a superb everyday glove as well as an excellent underglove in very cold conditions.

Pros

  • Excellent dexterity
  • Touch screen compatible
  • Comfortable
  • Excellent for inflammation, pain and circulation problems
  • Superb value

Cons

  • Not weatherproof
  • They don’t clip together

Find the latest price on:
Copper Clothing


Types of winter gloves for outdoor activities

Unfortunately, when it comes to winter adventures there is no ‘one-glove-fits-all’ solution (pun intended!) to keeping hands warm in everything you do outside. And there are far too many different types of winter gloves to cover in one article.

So we’ll focus on the basics.

Gloves for everyday use

I’m talking the sorts of gloves you can wear driving, out in town, or for a stroll in the park. Multi-purpose gloves that aren’t too bulky but provide enough warmth for short trips outside.

Properties:

  • Dextrous (not too bulky)
  • Good grip
  • Easy to get on and off
  • Moderately warm
  • Touch screen compatible

Gloves for cycling in winter

I’m not going near actual cycling gloves. They are designed for performance, grip, and protection. They don’t come under the winter gloves umbrella. However, many of us continue to cycle right through winter, either for commuting or for fun! And cold hands makes cycling become un-fun very quickly.

Properties:

  • Breathable
  • Waterproof
  • Windproof
  • Have decent grip
  • Not be too insulated (this can cause excess sweating)

Winter hiking gloves

Hiking in winter can mean very different things to different people. For some it involves trudging through knee-deep snow with limited daylight hours. For others it means battling very cold sideways rain. Either way, the best winter gloves should provide warmth and protection from the elements. Those hiking in sub-zero conditions may want to consider ski gloves.

Properties:

  • Waterproof
  • Windproof
  • Breathable
  • Moderate insulation
  • Some dexterity

Ski and snowboarding gloves

As with winter hiking the type of skiing/snowboarding you do and in what conditions has a bearing on the type of gloves you opt for. Snowboarders frequenting the park need higher levels of dexterity to deal with multiple binding clip-ins. Whilst those who prefer cruising the slopes at a leisurely pace will need high levels of insulation to keep their digits warm.

Properties:

  • Good levels of insulation
  • Windproof
  • Water resistant or waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Good grip
  • Some levels of dexterity
  • Durability

Glove liners/undergloves

For hiking and snowsports, a good way to combat the need for multiple pairs of gloves for varying conditions and activities is to wear a liner glove underneath gloves with greater insulation. This means that even on the coldest days, gloves with moderate to low insulation can turn into the warmest gloves for the conditions.

Properties:

  • Thin
  • No insulation
  • Fitted
  • Comfortable
  • Moisture wicking

Fabrics and insulation of the warmest gloves

The warmth provided by the best winter gloves is mostly down to the type of insulation. Other factors also contribute to this, like wind and water resistance, breathability and fit. But the main thing to consider is the fabrics and materials of the gloves.

The main types of glove insulation are:

01Fleece

Gloves that are made with fleece, or are fleece-lined are excellent for generating warmth quickly. Liner gloves are often made with fleece, and they are generally inexpensive so are a good option for everyday use. Other properties include:

  • Quick drying
  • Lightweight
  • Moisture wicking
  • Not wind or waterproof

02Wool

Woolen gloves, like fleece, provide good levels of warmth, quicky. They are good as stand-alone everyday gloves, as liners or when combined with other technologies. Woolen gloves are:

  • Moisture wicking
  • Warm when wet
  • Slow to dry
  • Odour resistant

03Synthetic

Gloves made from synthetic fabrics such as nylon, polyamide and polyester perform in a similar way to synthetic fleece. Depending on the composition of the fabric, gloves can be fully synthetic or they can form the insulation that fills the linings of gloves as an alternative to down insulation. Properties can include:

  • Quick drying
  • Moisture wicking
  • Breathability
  • Windproof
  • Waterproof

04Down

The warmest gloves are those with two layers of lining filled with duck or goose down — effectively sleeping bags for your hands! Often mitts are filled with down to provide excellent warmth. Properties of down insulation include:

  • Lightweight
  • Compressible
  • Expensive
  • Loses warmth when wet
  • Slow to dry

Design features of the best gloves for winter adventures

Sure, the warmth of your gloves is most certainly the most important thing to consider when choosing your next pair. But there are also a few other features of outdoor gloves that should be considered. Some of the below features just make life a but easier, whilst other features make them more practical and useful.

  • Glove grip

    Grip

    In certain scenarios, like skiing and cycling, it is essential for gloves to have a grippy palm. This can be in the form of leather or faux leather, or there may be sticky rubber studs across the palm. Either way, if you are likely to be holding onto things when wearing your gloves, grippiness is key. It will also help to make the gloves more durable where they will be used the most.

  • Glove Nose wiper

    Nose wiper

    This may seem like a bit of an unnecessary extra, but the ability to wipe your nose is more important than you might realise! In very cold conditions noses have the tendency to drip more than usual. Left unwiped, moisture can build up and either freeze in your nostrils or irritate the skin around your nose. So a dedicated patch of soft, absorbent fabric strategically placed on your gloves solves the problem totally! And yes, the softness is key to avoid causing a rash or irritation.

  • Glove fingers

    Touch screen compatible

    This is a more essential feature than ever before. Even if you’re so far out in the wilderness that phone reception has long since faded, many gps devices are now touch screen. And there really is nothing more annoying than having to take your gloves off every time you want to check your route (or take a selfie!). Some gloves have two fingers of touch screen compatibility, whilst others enable all fingers to get involved.

  • Velcro on gloves

    Velcro cuffs

    Well insulated gloves tend to be more bulky. Which means more space at the cuff for cold air to get in. For a tight fit that can either go over the top of your jacket, or flush against your base layer opt for gloves with a velcro tab that can be easily adjusted. Have an adjustable cuff also makes getting gloves on and off much more easy.

  • Glove attachment

    Attachment clips

    I’m not sure which is more annoying: losing both gloves or losing just one! Many gloves have small buckles used to attached themselves to each other. You lose one, you lose them both. But this also means that if you’re delving into you bag to find them, they’re guaranteed to be together. Just don’t lose them!


There are a ton of great gloves out there, all of which perform very differently in varying conditions and scenarios. I will be continuing my quest to find the warmest gloves for outdoor adventures and will be adding to this list as often as I can. In the meantime, please get in touch if you have found your dream glove that puts the curtains on chilblains for good!

About the author

author-joey

Joey Holmes is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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